To roam is to walk, go or travel without a fixed purpose or direction; to ramble; to wander; to rove.
Right to Roam Vintage is a clothing company created to inspire connections between past and present, friend and stranger, seeker and wanderer. Jonny Bradford, a junior in industrial systems engineering at Auburn University, co-founded the retail store with Brent Warr after discovering vintage clothing for the first time in Williamsburg, New York.
“It honestly didn’t start for a love of vintage clothing, or even clothing at all, but a deep love of traveling,” said Bradford. “I’ve been exposed to so many different people and beliefs and ideologies through traveling across the United States. Seeing how different the world is out there, versus how uniform everything is where I grew up, made me want to grasp onto something and bring it back here. I want to puncture the bubble and force people to ask questions and open up their minds.”
The vintage clothing is sold primarily online and through social media. They typically restock bi-weekly but constantly keep an eye out for statement pieces to add to the collection. Bradford uses connections with contacts throughout the vintage clothing world to access warehouses full of old finds.
“My favorite piece of vintage clothing I own is a gray-and-white pinstripe shirt with a fake extended collar on the neckline and sleeve line,” said Bradford. “It’s embroidered with ‘The Great Outdoors’ surrounded by trees. It’s just incredible.”
Bradford first entered the retail world as a high school student when he started a t-shirt company called Thread of the South. A lover of design and creativity, he saw an opportunity to enter an open market and experiment with content. Thread of the South sold t-shirts, hats, stickers and various southern apparel and received a few large orders from fraternities at the University of Alabama.
A Birmingham native, Bradford originally planned to attend Vanderbilt University. After visiting Auburn for a football weekend, he knew it was home.
“I came for the people,” said Bradford. “I met a bunch of students at the football game and was just like, ‘if these are the people that are at Auburn, there’s nowhere else I want to go.’”
Bradford’s love of traveling grew when he worked at JH Ranch in California during summer 2016. During his days off, he was able to journey along the Pacific coast throughout California, Washington, and Oregon. One of his favorite memories is the time he spent two days wandering alone through San Francisco, camping beside the Golden Gate Bridge and exploring the city.
The entrepreneur’s dream job would be to move overseas and plant churches throughout the world. For now, however, he enjoys running the retail store that operates more as a hobby than a business model.
“I just want to pursue the opportunities for traveling and making connections,” said Bradford. “People grasped on to Right to Roam more than we thought they would, so I want to use that window to network throughout the United States.”
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